Highway Patrolman in South Dakota look for reasons to stop out of state drivers and those driving rental cars to search for drugs. Troopers profile certain vehicles based upon the state its licensed in and/or where it’s rented from. Troopers suspect that people driving rental cars flew to a state that has legalized marijuana, purchased some and are bringing the drugs home in a rental vehicle. The trooper will stop a vehicle for any traffic violation and then look for signs of nervousness or the odor of marijuana when they speak to the driver at their car.
Most people are anxious when stopped by a cop. Troopers look at the driver and passengers neck and stomach to see if they can see the heartbeat in the carotid artery on the neck clearly beating or the persons stomach shaking. The look at the drivers hands as they hand the trooper their drivers license, insurance and registration to see if their hands are shaking. They also look to see if the driver and passengers are rigid and stiff and if they will look at the trooper. All these signs of extreme nervousness will heighten the troopers suspicions. I have seen cases where they even pull up beside a moving vehicle to see if the driver and passengers will look over at the trooper. If you and your passengers are like a statue that will make the trooper suspicious. If you are the sole person in a rental vehicle with no visible luggage that will make them suspicious. If your car is clean or dirty, depending on where you tell them you are coming from, will make them suspicous. If you have a bunch of air fresheners visible throughout the car that will make them suspicious also. Furtive movements by you or your passengers as you are pulling over will make him suspicious. Are you hiding something?
The trooper will bring the driver back to his vehicle and say that he will give the driver a ticket and will be sending him on his way shortly. This is done to alleviate the drivers nervousness for a second Then the trooper will state that part of his job is drug interdiction. That is designed to get the driver nervous. He will ask the driver if he has any illegal drugs etc in the car. When the person denies that he is carrying illegal substances the trooper will ask for consent to search. While you are in the troopers vehicle he will be smelling you to see if he can detect the odor or marijuana on your person.
This psychological tactic is very effective. If the person denies he is carrying drugs the trooper will request consent to search. Most people deny they have drugs in the vehicle, but when the trooper asks for consent to search people feel more compelled to give consent because they just said that they did not have drugs in the vehicle. If the trooper cannot get consent from the driver he will then ask the driver if the he brought a drug dog to the scene would the dog hit on the vehicle? If the trooper is suspicious because of the initial nervousness he will ask the drivers consent to bring a drug dog to the scene if the driver refused to give consent to search initially. You must deny permission or consent to the trooper for time to get a drug dog to the scene. A trooper cannot delay a routine traffic stop without reasonable suspicion. In some cases the trooper has a drug dog in his vehicle and will run the dog around the car without the drivers consent if he witnessed suspicious behavior initially at the drivers window. In addition the trooper may ask you and your passengers questions about your travels to see if your stories match up. He will be especially suspicious if you tell him that you were in or coming from Colorado.
The troopers are all trained on how to use this psychological tactic to terrorize you. The trooper knows that you are nervous because he just stopped you. He then tells you back in his car that he will give you a ticket and let you go to attempt to relax you. Then he says part of his job is looking for drugs and he ask you if have any? This is designed to get nervous again. You deny you have drugs. He asks for permission to search. You just said you don’t have drugs. If you tell you no, will he think you are hiding something? Then he asks if a drug dog would hit on your vehicle? You say no. Then he asks if he can summon a drug dog to sniff? If you say no, will he get more suspicious? Then he says if you have just a little pot and show him he will just give you a ticket and send you on your way. I hope that you can see how this whole encounter is designed to psychologically terrorize you into giving consent to search, to summon a drug dog to the scene or to admit that you have some drugs in your vehicle.
Another tactic the troopers use is to say that if you just have a small amount of marijuana and show it to him that he will only give the driver a ticket for possession of paraphernalia and will send him on his way. Now if you admit that you have paraphernalia or a small amount of pot the whole car will be searched. If you are carrying more than just a little bit of pot and/or have other drugs in your car he will find those. You just gave him probable cause to search your car, trunk, glove box and your person when you admitted that you had some drugs.
Another tactic that troopers have started to use is to post Signs before upcoming Exits that there is a drug checkpoint ahead. There are no checkpoints ahead. It is a ruse to get drug carrying vehicles to pull off the interstate at the next exit after the fake checkpoint signs. The troopers look for cars that take the next exit off the interstate and look for any reason to pull that vehicle over. Then they use the same tactics as described above. However, now they have a few more questions to ask. Did you see the signs that there was a drug check point coming up? Why did you pull off the interstate?